WOW! Big Weekend was BIG

31 08 2010

I said last week that we were praying for 10,000 this weekend and if 14,000 came we would really need divine assistance.  Well, God came through with a little over 15,000 people and we actually survived with an awesome weekend.  It was a blast to see Hope folks coming in with their friends and seeing how much everyone enjoyed the weekend.

Amy Grant is the real deal.  Her humble, laid back, down home attitude was perfect.  She was right at home at Hope.  The service was exactly the way we wanted it — a worship service and not a concert.  She connected as she led in worship and the special music during the offering was beautiful.  See the video below of “Better than a Halleluiah”

We seemed to have made an impact in our outreach goal for the weekend.  We usually have around 40 first time guests who fill out our comment cards but this weekend we had over 200!  That is what it is all about.

Also, our connection with Target House went very well.  Amy did a concert with her band down there after the evening service.  The concert was great but watching her interact with these kids with catastrophic illnesses moved me to tears.  Her love, compassion and concern were very evident. 

God did smile on us this past weekend.  Our prayer is that some of our friends who visited with us really heard the message of God love and will return and become a part of Hope Church.


Review of “What Difference do it Make?” by Ron Hall, Denver Moore & Lynn Vincent

16 11 2009

what difference cover

This sequel to the New York Times bestseller, Same Kind of Different as Me, tells of the huge impact this book has had on the lives of many of its readers.  There is story after story of how God used Same Kind of Different as Me to take people outside of their comfort zones and change their lives and their attitude toward homelessness.  It also tells of the continuing relationship of Ron Hall, a wealthy fine-art dealer and Denver Moore who through the impact of Ron’s late wife, Deborah, is now formerly illiterate and formerly homeless and speaks with Ron all around the country.

I had not read Same Kind of Different as Me before I picked up What Difference Do it Make?, but I was able to jump right in and follow their unique story without any difficulty.  I absolutely love the realness of these two men.  Nothing was really glossed over or candy-coated.  They honestly shared their story with grace and a good bit of wit.

Denver’s down-to-earth wisdom shines through a quote like this:

“… there’s a difference between helpin and blessin — that blessin means you give a person a little gift to show ‘em you think they matters on this earth, and helpin is when you stoop down with a person and stay there till they can climb on your shoulders to get up.”

And Ron’s story of the ultimate restoration of his relationship with his father is worth the price of the book.

This really is a good read that will challenge you in a practical way about how you view homelessness, and how we as the community of faith can do something about it.

Over 700 Volunteers Poised for Christmas Eve Services

23 12 2008


We have guests coming tonight through Christmas Eve — upwards to 20,000 depending on the weather.  It is so exciting to see folks come together to pull this off.  The above gifts represent a huge commitment taken on by numerous volunteers and staff to wrapping all these little presents .  We wrapped some 20,000 of them to be handed out as people arrive and used as an illustration during the sermon.  It is going to be wonderful.

And I am so grateful for the over 700 volunteers who will greet, make coffee, direct traffic, usher people around, sing, hang out with Children, rock babies….  They are awesome!!!

Yes, we have guest coming and we want them to feel comfortable and welcome as they hear and experience the love of God wrapped in this baby who became the Saviour of the world.

Team Building Through Paper Cuts

19 11 2008


Yesterday, the communications team sent out an all points bulletin to the staff. They were sending a 3 piece mailing to about 5000 residents and needed to get it stuffed and sealed by the afternoon. So, our staff lounge was then lined with tables and people converged on this task.

Yes, we got the task done, but I also noticed another byproduct of this job. TEAMBUILDING. Here are a few observations.

Getting the Big Picture — It is easy for us to get wrapped up in our individual ministries and not see us as a whole staff team moving toward a common goal. We do have staff meetings where we all worship together and learn from one another but this mailing brought people together from all ministries with a “it’s about Hope” attitude and not just it’s about MY ministry area.

The Laughter Factor — There is something about everyone being together, messing with one another and just having fun that brings a team together. And music always adds to the fun.  We had  everything from Christmas to the Rolling Stones. (Also, read the sign above that was left after we completed the job. Pretty funny.)

From Overwhelmed to Manageable — The communications team had a daunting task before them that became manageable with the help of the rest of the team. They would still be stuffing and sealing today if the crowd had not come.

Everything was great except for the paper cut. I cut my little finger on one of the inserts and when I started bleeding on the table, they excused me back to my office. Banished from the team!! Next time I will be ready with a quick band-aid and then get back at it.

Why Serve?

7 10 2008

“Why would someone volunteer to work with kids, take out the trash, park cars, change diapers, duplicate tapes, mow the lawn, feed the poor or counsel teenagers?”

Tim Stevens gives some thought to this question and answers:

“Three reasons people choose to serve…

  1. They see a real need. Someone has shared the vision of helping kids or serving others–and they caught the vision.
  2. They have confidence they can do it. It’s in an area where they have a strength, a passion, or both. They aren’t being asked to do something that will embarrass them or expose a weakness. It fits who they are.
  3. There’s not someone already doing it. That means there are always roles available for new people to fill.”

I would add at least one more to this list —- They are asked! Yes, it is obvious.  But, just like the statistics that say that people would come to church if they were given a person invitation, I think people will serve when asked and the three issues listed by Tim above are in play.

Click here to read the rest of Tim’s post.

Mentors in Marriage – Warfield & McQuilken

12 07 2008

I just read a moving post from Justin Taylor at Between Two Worlds on B. B. Warfield, a theological giant and former Principal of Princeton Theological Seminary (1887-1902).

Justin had just read comments on the life of Dr. Warfield from Kim Riddlebarger. Specifically, he was touched by Warfield’s commitment to his wife in the midst of her long term illness. Here are some of the highlights:

Soon after marrying Annie Pearce Kinkead, who was also from noble stock, the newlyweds journeyed to Leipzig. . . .
During their stay in Europe an event occurred that would forever change the Warfield’s lives. While walking together in the Harz mountains, Mr. and Mrs. Warfield were caught in a violent thunderstorm. Annie Warfield suffered a severe trauma to her nervous system from which she never fully recovered. She was so severely traumatized that she would spend the rest of her life as an invalid of sorts, becoming increasingly more incapacitated as the years went by. Her husband was to spend the rest of their lives together giving her “his constant attention and care” until her death in 1915 (Allis, “Personal Impressions of Dr Warfield,” 10). B. B. Warfield could not have foreseen just how constant and difficult a demand this was to become, and how, in the providence of God, this would impact his entire career.
. . . Warfield’s remarkable literary output is, no doubt, in large measure due to the frail condition of his wife and his amazing devotion to her. With the pen he was a formidable foe, but as O. T. Allis recalls, “I used to see them walking together and the gentleness of his manner was striking proof of the loving care with which he surrounded her. They had no children. During the years spent at Princeton, he rarely if ever was absent for any length of time” (Allis, “Personal Impressions of Dr Warfield,” 10). Machen recalled that Mrs. Warfield was a brilliant woman and that Dr. Warfield would read to her several hours each day. Machen dimly recalled seeing Mrs. Warfield in her yard a number of years earlier during his own student days, but notes that she had been long since bed-ridden (Stonehouse, J. Gresham Machen, 220).
Read the rest of this post here.

In reading this testimony of love and commitment, my mind went back to the early 90’s, and I remembered reading an article in Christianity Today by the President of Colombia Bible College (now Columbia International University) Robertson McQuilken. McQuilken had resigned from Colombia to care for his wife who was in the throws of Alzheimer’s. Her is an excerpt from his resignation speech:

Murial McQuilken died in 2003. Her husband cared for her to the very end.

Read the article I read in 1990 from CT —- “Living by Vows” —- along with these follow-up articles — “Murial’s Blessing” & “The Gradual Grief of Alzheimer’s” (Interview shortly after her death)

Very Special Arts Festival

23 04 2008


I wish I had a video of this, but if you listen to the beautiful version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by the late Hawaiian artist Israel “Iz” Kamakawiwoʻole, you will experience some of the sweetness of watching these special kids perform a hula dance this morning at Hope. 

We have the great privilege of hosting the annual Very Special Arts Festival put on the Memphis City Schools.   There will be over 1000 special needs kids who come through our doors to experience the music, the fun and the arts and crafts.  What a great opportunity for us to serve these children and the dedicated educators who love them every day. 

We are completely committed to serving our community with the facility that God has given us.  Later this spring we will be hosting the AP exams for Cordova High School, will have five high school graduations in our sanctuary and we will host the Memphis City School’s Principals Academy.

With all the bad press that the school system gets, I hope someone is out here reporting on this great event for these exceptional students.